One 0f the most visited historical attraction in the province of Cebu is the Lapu-Lapu Monument and Magellan’s Shrine located in Punta Engano, Mactan Island. Travel time to reach this landmark is approximately 15 minutes from the Mactan International Airport, so it’s a good first stop for your visit if you are not too tired from your flight or it can be your last stop just before you head out of Cebu.
The Battle of Mactan happened in this coastline on April 27, 1521 between the native warriors commanded by Datu Lapu-Lapu and the Spaniards led by Ferdinand Magellan. To this day, every 27th of April, this battle is commemorated by the Cebuanos and usually a re-enactment of the battle is staged in the same strip of shoreline where it happened.
Battle of Mactan marker
Some people here in Mactan holds that the reason why the natives won the fight despite the superior armaments of the Spaniards is partly due to the natural landscape & topography of the island. The shoreline of Mactan is very, very shallow during low tide and presumably the foreign invaders arrived when seawater has receded far from shore so Magellan and his men had to anchor their ship far away while the waiting warriors of Lapu-Lapu is ready with their simple bolos, kris, spears, bows, poison arrows and more. The plight of the Spanish troops were made worst by the fact that their ship’s canons were pretty useless because of limited reach and that the Spaniards were weighted down by their heavy armors and weapons as they waded and fought in the water versus the flexibility of the buckskin clad warriors. No matter how it was won though, the Battle of Mactan gives recognition to the bravery of these native warriors and made Lapu-Lapu, the warriors’ chieftain, the First Filipino Hero.
It’s easy to go to the Lapu-Lapu Monument and Magellan’s Shrine once you are in Opon or Lapu-Lapu City. From the old Mactan-Mandaue Bridge you just take a multicab bearing the sign ‘Punta Engano’, about 15 minutes from the old bridge to the compound, fare is P11.00. Inside the compound is the statue of Datu Lapu-Lapu and the shrine dedicated to Ferdinand Magellan, some say that the remains of the european explorer is buried there.
Statue of Lapu – Lapu
There are also souvenir shops inside the compound selling various local handicrafts like wooden beads, lampshades made of capiz shells, guitars, cebu keychains, shell necklaces, string of pearls, coconut purse among others. These handicrafts are sold cheaper there compared to when you buy them in the souvenir shops in the malls.
And if you are feeling hungry, no worries for just beside the compound is the popular SUTUKIL restaurants, sutukil is shorten name for Sugba (Grilled), Tula ( Fish Soup) and Kilaw (Ceviche). In these restaurants an array of freshly catched seafoods are on display and you will have to pick the seafoods that you want and decide on how you want it cook like grilled, with soup, fried, sweet and sour etc.
I was with my cousin’s family the last time I was there. And my niece, Sydney, a Filipino-American on her first visit in the Philippines was fascinated by some of the crafts she saw in the gift shops, in fact she is still wearing the necklace with shark’s teeth pendant even when she goes to school haha ^_^
Update 2013: Since this particular visit, I’ve been to this tourist destination in Lapu – Lapu numerous time. 🙂 Bring fans and wear light clothes as you visit and explore the complex because humidity is almost always high even in the evening.
OPENING AND CLOSING TIME MACTAN SHRINE
The Liberty Shrine complex where you can see Magellan Shrine and Lapu – Lapu Monument opens very early at 4 AM to cater to early morning joggers and closes at 10 PM to cater to late night tourist. The whole complex is illuminated at night time casting a warm, cozy glow in Mactan Shrine . There are even light set-up in the mangrove trees just across the shallow waters. =)